For European internet users, the content we can access and share on the internet would change drastically if the European Parliament’s JURI Committee does not change Article 13 of its proposed copyright directive.
The law would force services like YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo and Twitter to monitor users’ activity and filter uploads to avoid copyright infringement. However, this measure would be disproportionate and hurt our free speech in a number of ways.
Here's how your internet use may soon be compromised by poorly conceived legislation:
- Shrinking digital rights: You record a video at your friend's wedding, but copyrighted music is playing in the background. Later, when you want to upload your video to YouTube, a bot will block publication because it thinks you want to upload copyrighted music.
- Threat to our democracy: If someone wants to share a video about an ongoing political protest, and this protest incidentally includes copyrighted material, such as music or video clips in the background, that content will be blocked.
- Program code sharing archives such as Github at risk: Cooperative open source coding platforms would be required to take preemptive action to prevent copyrighted material from being shared without the appropriate license. In a wider perspective, this would hamper European innovation and competition in the open source field particularly.
- Signal and other encrypted services under threat: Open source applications that help to enforce fundamental rights, such as personal data protection, freedom of expression and the right to access information, will be endangered because software developers will not be able to share their codes with each other.
- Whistleblower protection shrinking: Information shared by whistleblowers on secure websites will be monitored and might even be blocked. Similarly, access to databases would be more cumbersome, which violates the work of investigative journalists, especially data journalists.
Liberties would like to call the attention of MEPs to the possible violations of fundamental rights if Article 13 of the draft Directive on copyright in the Digital Single Market is passed, either in its original form or with the latest compromise version.